Katie and I tried for the NE Ridge of Grainger a few days prior and managed to complete 95% of it but the very last bump stopped us due to our comfort zone. We had some beta from Marduk, but his climbing level is quite higher than ours. I would rate that ridge at very exposed class 3 with high consequences from mid point onwards. The last bump was stiff exposed class 3, probably 4. Bring a rope to feel comfortable is my recommendation. Our failure didn't sit well so we bumped it up our list and would go back via a different route that Marduk has also done. Matt Juhaz tried for it in Feb but got stumped due to poor snow and weather conditions. The North glacier direct is such a cruise to the summit compared to the ridge. Highly recommended. These are a few pics from that trip,
North Face Trip Report
We decided to add 1 more to our group. Steven Song hasn't been out with us since our Marmot trip so it was good to do another trip with him. Katie and I left abit earlier in the day, we drove through the gate on the Trio Creek FSR where the big run of river project is going in. The road is in good shape but as with gates you never know. We checked in at the camp on our first venture and they do like it when you check in. Or maybe it was cause I hid in the truck while I sent Katie into the camp full of guys to make sure we could drive up. Like shooting fish in the barrel, she got the green light, we were good to go. Just like when she chatted up the Urquhart gate keeper. This trip we just decided to chance it. I spent some work with the shovel knocking down the waterbars at the end of the road so her CRV could drive abit further up away from the work, we got camp setup and a fire going and Steve showed up a few hours later.
The next day starting out at 5:30am it was less than a 1km walk to the end of the road and from there the bushwack begins. There are to ways to get to the route, you can cross trio creek right away and buswhack to the base of the glacier, or you can follow the creek doing a rising traverse and cross above a waterfall where the creek is more mellow. Both ways are nasty, we took the above waterfall route. It was about 2hrs some the thickest sidehill bush I've done. We got to the creek crossing which was super mellow and caught a glimpse of our gully that would lead us to the glacier.
The grade was so nice, the snow conditions were boot pack with minimal sinkage. We just zigged and zagged our way up the slope ticking off the verts in no time.
Once we found the ramp that would lead us to the glacier, there were the last rock islands where we took a good break. We knew it would be about 40 degrees, and maybe a short stint of 45 degrees, not sure of conditions we brought a rope, and picket and harnesses. We put the harnesses on but never needed any of the gear the snow was perfect bucket steps at the steepest part. This route was so much fun me and Steve just sat back on the steep parts goofing around taking pictures while Katie got to lead the boys and make a track for us. It was a good trip to get her comfortable on being in lead on steep snow.
We couldn't let Steve have it too easy so we got him to go infront for abit and make us some steps. Once we got the the base of the summit block it's just a long snow ramp to the summit. Steve sat back letting Katie and I finish it off first. I did a quarter of the slope while Katie was in the zone and wanted to lead the way to the summit. That was the last bump that stopped our last attempt.
This one was on our radar and the earlier fail made it all the sweeter to finish off. The weather was on our side and the views didn't disappoint. The cedar cross is still there but in 2 pieces now.
We did about 30min on the summit but it was still pretty cold and windy so down we went. The glissading down was fast and fun, but the butt slides were even better. It was pretty much a slide from the summit back to the creek crossing.
We didn't want to do that long stint of bushwack on the way back so we decided to stay on the West side of the creek this time and utilized some boulder fields and snow patches. Either way you go you have to earn the approach.
Back at the car we sat around as it started to shower on us, not a care in the world we drank some beers, and just hung out for well over an hour.